Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 8 - Feeling More Comfortable in Fresno

  Since Hayden was feeling overwhelmed and some what discouraged last week, I was hoping that things had become better, and not worse. Well guess what his opening line was this week? "Whew. I am doing a lot better." What a relief, and an answer to many of our prayers! So, here is his weekly email.


 "Whew. I am doing a lot better. Let's talk about this week. The work has still been rather hard, but I've started to gain my solid ground once again! It started out a bit rocky, if we go back to last Monday evening for the start of this week. Elder M has gotten on my case about not saying much in lessons and I was angry, but didn't react, because it was true, and I had to learn. So, I started striving to be able to say things in lessons. I prayed that I would find more success than these last few days, and that even if my Spanish was weak, that my Spirit would not be. Well, I was blessed to not necessarily excel, but to grow and to participate more. 
  We've been teaching an investigator named "M". She is currently a single mother, all of her children are in their 20's, and all are girls. One of her daughters has two children. Only "M" listens, and at some point in the past, communicating in a normal voice lost it's effect on people, so about 70% of the family's communications in the background is yelling and such. Nonetheless, "M" has really taken the lessons to heart amid the chaos. She even came to church yesterday! It was a close call though, we had to visit her at 9:00am and found her waking up. She was able to arrive by 9:40, and heard all the testimonies, but missed the passing of the sacrament, just barely. After all the meetings, we talked with her, and she said she was really glad to have been there and that she felt so peaceful. She also said she was surprised how kind everyone was and liked the classes. She is planning on attending next week, and if so, can be baptized on the date we set as a goal. I'm very excited for her because I know it can bless her life!
  On Thursday, I jumped a hurdle for speaking Spanish. We had two appointments at 8pm, so my companion and I split up with the 1st counselor and Ward Mission Leader. Elder M trusted me with the investigator and he went to a less-active member. So off I go, with Hermano S, the 1st counselor. Fortunately he speaks both English and Spanish. He talked about his mission and profession and I was able to connect with him. It was a great stress reliever. At the lesson, I taught the importance of obedience to God's commandments, as well as following the prophet, and trusting that modern day revelation exists. Hermano S pitched in here and there, but I taught the majority of the lesson. I realized that even with weak Spanish (compared to the people here) I could teach by the Spirit and that they wouldn't care so much that I spoke slowly. Hermano S gave his testimony of how he converted from Catholicism to the LDS church at the end, and he gave a lot of interesting historical views that he said changed his mindset. The investigator is Catholic, so it was an interesting scenario. He hit some points pretty hard, but the investigator wasn't offended, they just listened. These were: "If you think about it, who really formed the Catholic church in it's entirety?  The Romans. Who killed Christ? The Romans. (The Jews didn't have legal power to kill Christ, so the Romans had to for the events to take place.) "Additionally, the Apostles of Christ's church were always writing Epistles to people to teach how to govern the church properly. We have pieces of those like Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, etc, in the Bible. But the Catholic church didn't do this. They started accepting the views of all to maintain membership. The word Catholic, means 'universal' and thus the Catholic church became the church for all."  He said that, and I was sitting there like: wow, I hope that doesn't offend the investigator. but it didn't. The Spirit was there. It was a needed and true testimony.
  Other events have included visiting several less active members. Refugio C, whom I believe I spoke of last time, has made progress in stopping his smoking. He really wants to change, but the addictive power has him buying cigarettes anyway. Every time we visit, he gives us any cigarettes he has to throw away. He has expressed sincere love for receiving the scripture we share. One of them I shared with him was Proverbs 3:26, which I found when looking to give a message to someone else, but it applies to everyone. It talks about letting God be our confidence. So apply that to yourselves. Whatever confidence you lack, God can provide for you, if you remember to trust in him. 
  These were the most important lessons this week. I'm excited to grow and teach more people. As I write this line, I realize: We knocked some doors the other day. After a long run of rejection we caught a lady that had a reasonable interest in hearing more later, so I hope when we follow up that will go well! Hoping "M" continues to progress and that I can continually work better with Elder M. He has taught me well, but sometimes a bit coarsely.  Nonetheless, I'm trusting in God, and even after everyday where my head hits the pillow and 2 seconds later it's 6:30 AM again, it's all worth it. The trials sweeten the flavor of joy."

--Elder Schaff

I asked him if he could share with me which talks he enjoyed from General Conference on October 1st and 2nd. This is what he wrote back to me.

"As for my favorite conference talks- D. Todd Christofferson, Quentin L. Cook, and Neil L. Anderson were my favorites. They helped me get through those first days and remember what I've got to do to fulfill my purpose. In Neil L. Anderson's I liked the promise, "As we pray for opportunities to stand as a witness of God, they will come. The Spirit will carry our words to those people." I also enjoyed that he said we need everyone to stand as a witness of Christ. I wrote that "we are where we are because God needs us in certain places, everyone, everywhere."  I just liked the reminder I received from Quentin L. Cook in the symbolism of turning my stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Finally, I liked the depth provided by D. Todd Christofferson in explaining God's love for us, the power of the Atonement, that we never must look through at our potential through the glass darkly. We have to see through the eyes of Christ. Always strive to see what Christ sees in you. The symbolism of the olive pressing process I found out in the MTC. However, I did not know that the oil was a deep red until his talk. That really made a symbolic connection I appreciated."

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